Jeff Koons has created some of the most iconic art pieces of the last quarter century. He is an artist whose name is nearly synonymous with contemporary art and culture. While his brand of Pop Art always contains a controversial omnipresent ambiguity concerning how “intelligent,” “deep”, or “dumb” his work really is (that is ultimately left to the viewer to decide), there is no denying how technically perfect, enjoyable, and awe-inspiring they are in person. The consummate perfectionist, once he has an idea hatched inside his head, it usually takes a few years until physical completion.

While the artist is known for his giant shiny sculptural reproductions of banal objects, such as eggs, balloon animals, and inflatable lobsters, he also enjoys the sense of warmth that comes with painting (his personal art collection contains mainly old masters and 19th-century European paintings).  This past Saturday saw the opening of his show of monumentally ambitious new paintings titled, appropriately, “New Paintings” at the Gagosian in Los Angeles.

More photos from the opening after the jump…

These “New Paintings” are a departure from Koons’ previous paintings, as they contain obvious abstract and gestural elements to them and may not be as literal.  Looking up close, you can see individual dots that form an image from far away. The dots bring to mind technology and pixelation, particularly those that could be seen on televisions from the past that received their weak reception from bunny antenna ears, a representation of popular culture and change. They also contain sexual images, such as suggestive female poses, and everyday ones, such as a lakeside tree. The strokes that you see on the paintings are not really strokes at all, but perfectly applied in a photorealistic application. As the press release mentions, these paintings “engage in a dialogue with cultural history that is at once visual, intellectual, biological, and philosophical, as well as with art history, from the Venus of Willendorf to Gustave Courbet and Salvador Dali.”

The gesture that you end up making in the world happens through instinct and all these desires for procreation. The greatest beauty is the acceptance of nature and how things function. –Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons – “New Paintings” runs now until Saturday, January 9m 2010 at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA

Gallery Info:

456 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
T. 310.271.9400 F. 310.271.9420
Hours: Tue-Sat 10-5:30

Article and photos by Khoi Nguyen.
Discuss Koons here.